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Gimme the Loot's star power is unmistakable

A big winner at last year's SXSW, Adam Leon's Gimme the Loot, about a couple of graffiti bombers aiming to gain fame by tagging the Mets' Home Run Apple, runs on nothing but biodiesel personality. Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington) are mates only in spraying, and they work a variety of small-time crimes (dealing, stolen goods) to raise the money needed to fulfill their dream. It's a nowhere setup — tagger prestige and two-fifty will get you on the B — and hardly even required, as first-timer Leon limns the neighborhoods' textures without patronizing, drops his kids into skirmishes and mishaps, and focuses, slowly, on their budding romance. Rather '80s-retro as local indies go (it's even shot rather Spike Lee-ishly), the movie banks not so much on street cred as on old-fashioned movie charisma. Hickson is amiable and deft, if still a touch awkward with dialogue, but Washington, playing a defensive and belligerent child of her borough, is radiant, razor-like and preeminently watchable. Equally magnetic, Zoë Lescaze is unforgettable as a rich-white-girl pot buyer with no self-control. Leon's grungy resumé indie is a modest deal, with a sweet, mumblecore-esque ending, but it glows with unmistakable star power.

 
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